As major cruise lines remained locked in a dispute with the state of Florida over the requirement of COVID-19 vaccination proof for passengers, Groove Cruise has announced that vaccination status will not be required to attend the event's 2022 edition.
The news arrives after Royal Caribbean, the organization hosting Groove Cruise 2022, confirmed that none of its passengers will need to provide proof of vaccination to board a ship moving forward. While Royal Caribbean is strongly encouraging passengers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before embarking, the line will not require them to do so, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Groove Cruise owner and "Chief Excitement Officer" Jason Beukema took to YouTube to address the decision, announcing that Royal Caribbean is "not going to mandate vaccines."
Beukema revealed that the Royal Caribbean crews have already been vaccinated and stressed that the coronavirus will likely be present on the ship no matter what precautions are taken.
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"There is going to be coronavirus on cruise ships," he said in the video. "It's going to happen, it already has happened. And cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, have been dealing with coronaviruses and other viruses for decades. They know how to quarantine people, and they know how to deal with this."
Beukema also went on to describe quarantine protocols in place on Royal Caribbean and emphasized the notion that people will most likely see reports of virus outbreaks on ships, whether they take place at Groove Cruise or at another nautical event.
Florida, Texas, and Alabama have all passed laws barring businesses from requiring “vaccine passports,” or proof of vaccination, allowing the cruise industry to resume as normal despite the ongoing dispute between cruise lines and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Considering the mercurial nature of such measures, Beukema advised Groove Cruise attendees to keep an eye out for possible changes to his festival's COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Groove Cruise is scheduled for January 20-24, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. You can check out the lineup and read more here.